Review Summary: As brutal as Death Metal, as speedy as Grindcore, and as catchy as Punk, Maryland’s Misery Index offers up one of the top death/grind albums of our time.Misery Index
is a deathgrind band from Annapolis, Maryland. After a full-length, an EP, a couple splits and a hell of a lot of touring, Misery Index
solidified themselves in the extreme metal underground as a force to be reckoned with. Their most recent full-length offering, Discordia
, shows how much they’ve grown as songwriters since their debut and has already taken Misery Index
to new heights of popularity among the metal community.
The album opener, Unmarked Graves
, starts with a short sample before it’s off in all its grinding goodness. The song is an all-out aural assault that will leave the listener wanting more of its brutal-yet-catchy goodness, and the rest of the album delivers just that. The second track, Conquistadores
is a testament to the band’s songwriting ability, opening with yet another brutal/catchy riff that will sear your senses and maintains that same catchiness in all of the riffs throughout. Closing with a unique breakdown, this is easily one of the best songs on the album.
But don’t let these tracks fool you into thinking this is just another deathgrind album that’s all about speed, Discordia
definitely has some slower moments that kick equal amounts of ass. Breathing Pestilence
and the title track show that Misery Index
can switch it up while still managing to bring the pain in quantities that are just as high.
Of all the instruments, the drums stand out the most. Not only is Adam Jarvis capable of complete all-out blasting as displayed on Conquistadores
and Meet Reality
, he also has an excellent sense of dynamics and shows it off on the aforementioned slower tracks. Even in the faster songs, he showcases that he is very capable of switching it up with fill after fill after fill without missing a beat. Upon first listen, it’s hard to believe that Adam Jarvis is even human.
The guitars and bass, for the most part, are played in a tri-tone to produce an extremely thick and impenetrable barrier of sound. It’s quite impressive that they can play at a relatively high level of technicality while still managing to maintain their trademark catchiness; few bands that I’ve heard can really do it this well. There are a few intricate solos that are hum-alongable and very memorable, and also some breakdowns that are bound to have you headbanging.
The dual-vocal assault a la Jason Netherton and Mark Kloeppel, while brutal and appropriate for the punk-ish deathgrind they play, is never too excessive & is fairly accessible. The vocals here range from a unique high throaty yell to low growls, giving enough vocal variation to satisfy the listener and aren’t quite over-the-top enough to ward off inexperienced listeners. The lyrics, while well written and meaningful, don’t really come off as being overtly pro-something or anti-something and more or less tell a story to inform the listener [or reader, more likely] of what’s wrong with today’s society.
As a whole, Discordia
shows that Misery Index
has grown quite a bit since Retaliate
, and should, if anything, further solidify their reputation in the extreme metal underground. There’s enough here to satisfy experienced listeners and it isn’t over the top to the point of warding off the undesensitized listener.
-Brutal as hell
-Catchy as hell
-A lot of variation between tracks
-It’s not from beyond the unholy grave
-It might hurt your ears
FINAL RATING: 4/5